Bills on Minimum Health Benefits, Other Issues Pass in California Senate
This week, the state Senate passed bills dealing with health insurance plan requirements, patient prescription information and the reporting of drug-resistant infections to health authorities. Details of the bills appear below.
The Senate approved a measure that would require all health insurance plans, at a minimum, to cover preventive care, doctor visits and hospitalizations, KPBS' "KPBS News" reports.
The bill would ban plans that only cover hospitalization and set lifetime caps on out-of-pocket expenses.
The insurance industry opposes the bill, which now goes to the Assembly for consideration (Goldberg, KPBS' "KPBS News," 5/29).
On Thursday, the Senate voted 21-16 to approve a bill (SB 1096) that would allow pharmacies to share patient prescription information with third-party businesses that work for pharmaceutical companies, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The bill would allow pharmaceutical companies to send direct mailings to patients with illnesses such as cancer, Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia.
Rocky Rushing -- a spokesperson for the bill's author, Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) -- said the measure is intended to encourage patients to take their prescriptions as prescribed and to refill prescriptions.
Critics of the bill said that it violates patient privacy and could lead to medical identity theft (Fernandez, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/30).
On Tuesday, the Senate voted 30-9 to approve a bill (SB 1058) that would require hospitals to report all cases of drug-resistant infections to the state Department of Public Health, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The bill, by Sen. Elaine Alquist (D-Santa Clara), also would require hospitals to screen patients for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus before they are admitted to an intensive care unit.
In addition, the bill would give DPH until 2011 to publish the infection rates on a Web site (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/30).